Once upon a time, when asked about our training at the gym, it was a simple question with only 2 possible answers, weight's or cardio. Now when asked about our training regime, what do we reply with? HIIT, Interval, Fasted, Resistance, Drop Sets, Supersets, Power Lifting, Olympic Lifting, you name it! Training has advanced massively over the years which is great as we can now be more specific to our goals and what we're trying to achieve, but it get's confusing right? Drop Sets and Supersets are two weight training techniques that are very similar within their results but are performed differently. So which one is for you?
#1 Drop Sets
Drop sets are used to fatigue all muscle fibres until no more weight can be lifted. The aim of this is to place an overload on the target muscles and to minimise the time in between each set, sustaining the intensity. An example of this would be performing a lateral raise with 18kg either side until you can lift no more. You would then reduce the weight and continue on for as many reps as possible, again reducing the weight until your muscles are completely fatigued. Drop sets are used at the end of an exercise to burn out the muscle.
Supersets consist of performing two exercises, these two exercises can target the same muscle group or target opposing muscle groups. An example of this for a single muscle group would be performing a lat pulldown along with a bent over row. You would perform these two sets, have a 1 minute rest and perform them again. It's recommended not to do more than 4 sets of each exercise. To train opposing muscle groups, an example would be performing a barbell curl press down along with an incline skull crusher. Here you are targeting the bi's and the tri's, with the same principle of a rest in between performing both sets. The aim of these exercises is hypertrophy (muscle gain). So what are the pro's and con's to both?
- Weight can be reduced throughout
- You stop when your muscles fatigue, it's not set for a number of reps
- You target all muscle fibres
- Not to be used on every exercise as the muscles will adapt for endurance rather than hypertrophy, you will also tire out too quickly
- You save time by reducing the rest interval between two exercises
- You can train two muscle groups in a short amount of time
- Increases the lactic acid production which increases the growth hormone - (a fat loss and muscle building hormone)
- Can be a nuisance taking up two machines at once